Autumn is slowly taking over the landscape here foothills of the Pyrenees with its beautiful bright colours. With autumn an annual tradition returns to the area, Hunting Season. The battue or batida in Spanish, is a way of hunting where beaters drive the game towards the hunters who are waiting with there shot gun. The hunters are after wild boar and corso, a small dear. These batidas are both tradition and a necessity as there are way to many boars and dear due to a lack of predators aka wolves.
Recently two mountain bikers have been shot in France. One biker got shot near Morzine. Unfortunately he passed away, the other one took a bullet in the shoulder in the French midi- Pyrenees. Regardless if you are pro hunting or against hunting, when you want to enjoy your bike ride from October to March. You have to pay attention during hunting season in Zona Zero. Here are 6 tips to avoid conflict with the hunters.
1. Ride during weekdays
This one is the safest! Hunting takes place during weekends and on official Spanish holidays. When you plan your ride during weekdays the chance of coming across a hunter or a closed trail are small.
2. Download the ZTrails app
In the Z-Trails app you will find all the biking and hiking trails of Zona Zero. The app shows you when certain areas and trails are closed due to hunting. Next to hunting it shows you if there is damage to a trail, such as a fallen tree blocking the trail. Zona Zero developed the app with funding of local Zona Zero brewery Rondadora. They have the Tronzadora beer, part of the revenue of this beer goes to projects like these that support area.
3. Check the Trails app & the Zona Zero Facebook page
Always check the app and the Zona Zero Facebook page for last minute changes of closed mountain bike trails before you go out on a ride. Sometimes changes are made last minute or data is not up to date in the app.
Below you find a short movie about how to navigate the app.
4. Wear bright colours in the weekend
The beaters wear bright colours during hunting so the hunters won’t should them when they are drive the game towards the hunters. Why not do what they do. Wearing bright colours helps you stick out in the woods, when you accidentally end up in a hunting zone. Mountain bikers like it bright anyway.
5. Ride beyond Ainsa & Boltaña.
Most mountain bikers that visit Zona Zero, ride around Ainsa and Boltaña. But there is a 1000 km of beautiful mountain bike trails. Enough trails to explore when trails close to Ainsa and Boltana are closed for hunting.
6. Respect hunters and the signs they put on the trails.
Often the hunters put signs at the entrance of a trail or forest warning you that there is hunting in the area. Respect these signs and go ride somewhere else.
In addition some English translations to make to help you understand the Spanish hunting language a little bit.
a cazar = to hunt
batida = battue
jabali = wild boar
venado = dear
corso = a small type of dear
Autumn and winter are some of the best times to ride your bike in Zona Zero. The nature is beautiful, the trails are in great shape. Everywhere you look you’ll see the snowy back drop of the high pyrenees. If you follow these 6 tips you will stay save and have an epic time in Zona Zero. Enjoy your ride. If you have any questions about where to ride or you want someone to guide you, don’t hesitate to call me +34670443373 or send an e-mail.
Author: Jeroen Spoelstra
Pictures: Sanne Willemsen & Jeroen Spoelstra